Tag Archives: Eastern Lowland Gorilla

Keeping our gorillas safe and healthy!

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Keeping a good distance between me and my friend!

Hi, this is Tuver,

A few couple of days ago I went to track gorillas at the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, which is located in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park currently holds 9 gorilla families of which 2 are open to tourists, who are always welcome at Kahuzi-Biega as the ongoing tourism aids the conservation of the low land gorillas that live here. However, there are a couple of things we have to consider when tracking them.

Our number one priority when visiting these great apes is to keep them safe and healthy by ensuring we keep the amount of pathogens spread between humans and animals to a minimum – just in case you were wondering why I was wearing a mask! This is also the reason why I kept a certain distance from the gorilla in the picture, as I was in fact following a rule called the 7-meter tracking regulation. This rule is very important as gorillas and humans are very closely related which means the chances of them catching diseases like influenza is very likely if we get in immediate contact with each other. Unfortunately, this is not always preventable as especially baby gorillas are always curious in getting to know tourists and trackers who come to visit them.

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Eastern lowland gorilla at Kahuzi-Biega National Park

 

Year of the Gorilla Project – Eastern Lowland Gorilla – Rebuilding Surveillance and Monitoring in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, DR Congo

Another of the expert-selected YoG projects – this one focuses on the currently hardest-hit subspecies: the Eastern Lowland Gorilla.

Introduction: The Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) has probably suffered the greatest losses, in relation to its total population, of all gorilla species over the last 10-15 years. War and conflict in eastern DR Congo are to blame for this, as militias invade protected areas making long-term, steady conservation work practically impossible, and the civilian population is forced by hardship to turn to poaching and habitat destruction for firewood.

Chimanuka, an Eastern Lowland Gorilla silverback. Picture by Ian Redmond.

Project summary: The main goals of this important project are to reinstate regular monitoring and effective surveillance of the remaining Eastern Lowland Gorilla population throughout the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in eastern DR Congo, which has been largely inaccessible to researchers and rangers due to instability and the presence of various armed factions in this region. The last reliable data on population size and distribution were recorded in 1995, and it is suspected that the population has shrunk dramatically since. New, precise information will be one outcome of this project, enabling intelligent and effective approaches to the conservation of this rare species.

Implementing partners: Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature with experienced international partners: GTZ (German Development Cooperation), WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature), WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and MGVP (Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project).

Budget: € 283,250 for 12 months

Please support this project, crucial for the survival of the remaining Eastern Lowland Gorillas, by donating.

For all the details, please click here.